Thursday 21 February 2013

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5 Attractions We Skipped (Despite Being Right There)

Our family definitely isn't known as an "off the beaten track" kind of group. When we travel, we might see a couple of lesser known attractions, but in general we're hitting everything on a city's Top Ten list, usually in the order they're listed. In San Diego we focused on the Zoo. In Orlando we spent most of our time at Disney World, and despite knowing next to nothing about American history, we dutifully visited most of the major memorials on our trip to Washington D.C. It's quite possible that we're the exact family Fodor's talks about in their staff meetings when they decide to roll out a new city guide book.

Seattle Center family New Years Eve
Fodor's said to stand right here

You still have to work for it though. If your city's major attraction doesn't interest us, or we deem it too much work for too little reward, we'll pass it right by. It doesn't matter how close we are or how many times we've read that it's a "must see", we're perfectly happy to relegate something to "next time" if the mood doesn't strike us. Heck it took us 40 trips to Vegas to actually stop at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign despite driving past it on the way to the airport every single time. That's the kind of laziness you have to be born with. You can't learn that kind of thing. 

Here's five of the bigger attractions that we've passed over, despite being pretty much right next to (and in one case, right over) them. 

San Francisco - The Golden Gate Bridge

People tell me that it's a pretty cool experience to ride a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge...or to walk it...or even just to drive over it then pull over and get a closer look, but none of that was even remotely enough motivation to get me out of the penthouse suite at the Fairmont San Francisco. Of course that might have been because I had a pretty good view of the bridge from there anyways. We have driven over the Bay Bridge however, because apparently Oakland is a much more desirable destination for us than Sausalito.

(Side Note: This could also have been about Alcatraz as we didn't make it out to see that island either.)

San Francisco Fairmont Nob Hill

Miami - South Beach

Despite advertising it as "Taking my family to South Beach", we never actually made it to any beach in the Miami area. Some of that can probably be attributed to the random storms and downpours in July when we visited, but truthfully it was probably just a lack of planning. At the very least we could have made a simple detour on our way back to the airport, but sometimes you just don't see the signs pointing the way.

Miami Beach Florida highway signs
Oh wait...That would be the sign wouldn't it?

New York - The Statue of Liberty

Yes, we've sailed by on the Staten Island Ferry, but if it weren't for great zoom lenses I'd still be pretty shaky on exactly what Lady Liberty looks like. A trip to see the statue close up has been on our list every time we go to New York, but in this case not getting it done isn't our fault. This attraction is closed more often than Allegiant Air's customer service lines. If I ever visit on Tuesday between 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm, I'll be sure to cross this one off.

New York New Jersey Lady Liberty
Hurrah for zoom lenses!

Oahu - Pearl Harbor

As a general rule, we prefer to focus on the upbeat and happy aspects of our vacations. It means that we usually see the positive side in most things, but it also means that we're not really drawn to places that bring up dark memories. Places like Arlington Cemetery and the Ground Zero monument weren't able to lure us away from other activities, and while I think I'd probably find some interest in a visit to Pearl Harbor, you have to admit that it's up against some pretty stiff competition when you're spending time in Hawaii.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Sunset silhouette

Phoenix/Las Vegas - The Grand Canyon

We've made the drive from Phoenix to Vegas at least a dozen times, but we've never made the detour to either one of the rims of the Grand Canyon. Part of the reason is that it's quite a detour, but I think a larger hindrance is my fear of being disappointed. I'm not generally wowed by scenery, and I'm not sure that sitting at the edge of a giant ditch is going to impress me all that much. I have seriously considered doing a helicopter tour from Las Vegas though, and I'll admit that the one time we flew over, the Canyon looked pretty cool.

Aerial view grand canyon Phoenix

Written by Steve Pratt